There is a song in the musical called Magical Friends. It always gives me goose-bumps, even when I am singing it to myself in the car. The lyrics were written by my friend Janet’s niece, Emily. She died from Leukaemia a year and a half ago. She was fifteen. She had a wonderful way with words and wrote lots of poetry. Before she died, she said to her mother, ‘Do something to make me famous, Mom.’ So her mum organised a wonderful ‘Inspired by Emily’ art show a year after her death. (Check out the Emily Lyman Foundation as well.) Chloe read the poetry and created a song version of The Magical Friends, using words from lots of the poems, for the art show. Later, Emily’s mum used it to make a video of snapshots of Emily’s life.
So, after the previews, many people came up to us saying, ‘That song, that song, it gave me goose-bumps and chills. It was so beautiful.’ We know that effect is from Emily. I am so glad that Emily’s work is here with us at the biggest arts festival in the world.
Gwanny came to the three-o’clock preview. Normally whenever Gwanny sees a show, especially one of ours, she says: ‘Och, I cannae hear a single wurrd! You should give out song-sheets with the wurrds on!’ This time, she didnae say it!
Besides which, even if she had said it, one should not take it personally, as Gwanny has never heard a single wurrd of any song. Apart from, as I have told you before: ‘Why can’t I be-he a teen-ager in love?’ and that was only because my brother Pete forced her to sing it so many times.
We did have fun making the Big Room into a theatre, with blacked-out windows and black sheets. Here are some pics from the dress rehearsal. (Now, you know I like my shots blurry, and they were taken on my phone, so bear with!) This is Zeke and Billy:
This is Mr and Mrs Blood:
This is Clara and the Sewer Ghost:
And here is Mrs Blood and Pa:
I had to sew Tabby into her dress. Ooh! I must be a real theatre mummy! Still need to sew in a serious hook to keep it tight at the top. Here is Mr Blood:
The Thursday evening preview was absolutely packed. All went well even the lights which had been hastily installed by Fred, a DMX box having been borrowed from our friends at the Half Moon. Our theatre guru Cath kindly came and took notes and gave us really useful feedback. Someone who saw the show phoned on Friday saying their kids had been singing the songs constantly and their piano teacher is setting up a music school and could they buy the rights to Jammy Dodgers the Musical (possibly with backing tracks!)
We are now in Edinburgh. The cast are in a flat on the Meadows. Fred, Alfie and Luke arrived at two, having left at five am in the props-stuffed van, and had a two-hour hacky-sac sesh.
This is a view from the window of the lovely Secret Garden flat Fred and I are in:
It is the tech rehearsal today. Fred has gone off in the van to Glasgow to Tabby’s flat to pick up the keyboard. We are meeting at the venue at 1.15pm, in costume, with instruments and props. Excited! Better get out there to source cherries and watercress !sing it! ‘as fast as we can.’
BTW the people at Healthline.com have kindly given my blog a 2014 review: http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-breast-cancer-blogs#11